1st Literary Award

Thursday, March 16, 2017 by  

literary-award-literature-novel-novels-writer-author-dreams-literary-1literary-award-literature-novel-novels-writer-author-dreams-literary-19Our 11-year-old earned her 1st Literary Award in a competition she entered back in Spring. She submitted a mini version of her 1st novella. It’s the 38th year of this competition & is open worldwide.

When Phillip read us the letter aloud, she jumped with pure delight feeling the fruits of her accomplishment after having spent months writing. We are so happy for her and very proud of her!

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Reading & writing are so important to Darling, a passion we saw at a very young age and have continued to fuel. While in England this May, we visited Oxford as C.S. Lewis & Philip Pullman are two of our daughter’s favorite authors, click: Oxford .
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Three teachers, Mrs. DZ, Mrs. SZ & Mrs. C have had such a significant impact on furthering her creative juices and honing her technical skills. Marvelous, nurturing, kind teachers ~ we are so grateful to have had this Dynamic Trio educate our daughter! Thank you, Mrs. DZ, for the amazing surprise cookie bouquet!!! Loved it!!!literary-award-literature-novel-novels-writer-author-dreams-literary-10
In her congratulatory card was a letter trimmed in gold with a very special message: Pack your bags & your wand, Hogwarts Castle awaits!! 
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Cheers with smoothies & an afternoon of play, the day could not have ended any better!literary-award-literature-novel-novels-writer-author-dreams-literary-30 literary-award-literature-novel-novels-writer-author-dreams-literary-34 literary-award-literature-novel-novels-writer-author-dreams-literary-37
bright spot flowerThe Bright Spot – Her award! Her friends! Her magical destination created by her favorite female author, J.K. Rowling, click: Wizarding World to see one of the most fun stories I’ve had the pleasure to write!
 
lands-end-catalog-5She was photographed for this Land’s End ad in Spring for the Autumn 2016 polo collection. They interviewed her and used this quote on the ad:lands-end-catalog-4
 
 
 
 
Darling, you are well on your way!
 
 

Bianca

Everyone Needs Their Mum!!

Monday, June 6, 2016 by  

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (64)a

We had a 2-week window between Phillip’s last chemical injection and the start of his radiation. It will be 40 rounds of daily radiation from June through August. He wanted to see his Mum. Click: Amazing Grace. Everyone needs their Mum at a time like this!

So we took our little one out of school late May/early June for this family emergency and visited relatives in Europe. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, Godchildren, close friends, everyone we could see within 2 weeks.

Phillip’s mother was overjoyed! Her 89th birthday was in June and she said seeing her son was the best gift ever!

Naturally, everyone we saw wanted to know how treatments were going. We could not rehash the details over and over. Not only is it draining for us but we didn’t want these conversations to overwhelm or frighten our youngest. Most of the time, we can shield her from it but when you’re traveling from home to home – or pub to pub, as is the case in England – folks want to catch up and we’re very sensitive to little ears in range.

Plus, we have striven to reclaim normalcy in the household & beyond for our family. Playing with friends & doing cool things was a mainstay.

England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (26) England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (28) England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (40)  England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (43) England, Spring, Summer, Lego, legoland, Lego Land, Legoworld, Lego World (2)  England, Spring, Summer, Legoland, Legoworld, Lego Land, Lego, Lego WorldAnd Legoland was awesome but laying on the grass topped all!! Why? Because there are no ticks or pesticides for ticks at all where Grandma lives and Darling was so happy!! It’s the little things, isn’t it?

England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (2)cu

Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (37)  While staying for an overnight with dear friends about a hundred miles south of Scotland, we ventured with the girls to a nearby castle where parts of Harry Potter & Downton Abbey were filmed, click: Castles & AngelsOxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (8)a

Later, we drove nearly 300 miles south to Oxford to visit the university and delve into the history of this beautiful medieval city, click: Oxford 

And because our budding marine biologist, during these 2 weeks, would unfortunately be missing a highly-anticipated field trip to the beach to explore the biodiversity of the water’s ecosystem, we wanted to do something special for her and booked her for Seatrek at what’s known as Europe’s 1st SeaTrek, Sea Life, SeaLife, Europe's 1st Sea Bed Walk, Seabed walk, marine life, marinelife (29)Seabed Walk: SeaTrek

Her 5th grade teacher kindly allowed our daughter to give a full presentation to her class on the 3 adventures above & what made each so special.

And speaking of 5th grade, the Friday we left for the airport was the same day her class was split into just girls/just boys earlier that morning for “The Talk.” You know the one. Menstruation, growing bodies…

But unlike the lecture we had in school when I was that age – along with a cartoon movie with dancing flowers depicting our blossoming into young ladies – this talk was not only about girl stuff…but boy stuff, too! Would be shocking, but the school explained that with the advent of the Internet, kids see much more than we did at this age and need to know more material to educate and protect themselves.

England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (22)Spotted Dick PuddingHumm… Still found it shocking. But it certainly made for fits of laughter – of which we need much of these days – and especially with a silly 5th grader! as we passed England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (6) by unassuming pubs like the Dandy Cock, or were served Nobby Nuts (salted peanuts) or when we read Spotted Dick on the menu – a British sponge pudding made with raisins & served with custard – but I mean, seriously, come on!

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When we all revived in the car from laughing so hard, we arrived at one of Phillip’s oldest friend’s for a lovely meal. No, not at the Dandy Cock. We walked over buttercup-covered hills and along lakes & clifftops.

 

England, Spring, Summer, countryside, English countryside, playing, flowers, zipline, zip line, pub, pubs (13)

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bright spot flowerThe Bright Spot – finding the hilarious things in life out of the simplest moments! And appreciating the glorious countryside with our loved ones.

 

 

 

 


Bianca

Oxford

Saturday, June 4, 2016 by  

Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (13)During our 2-week stay in Europe, we visited the medieval city of Oxford, coined the “City of Dreaming Spires” by poet Matthew Arnold.

Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (20)

Our 11-year-old daughtOxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (25)er & I just finished the 7 books by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, & the epic trilogy, His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman, both alumni of Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, established 1096.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was completely remarkable was that there was only 1 parking spot available in this bustling college town when we arrived and it just so happened to be in front of the Eagle & Child pub – we were hungry, but we didn’t know how significant the place was until we walked in!!

Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (6)Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (2)Built in 1650, this favorite watering hole was frequented by Lewis, Pullman, J.R.R. Tolkien and other members of “The Inklings,” the famous literary group!

So, of course, that’s where we had lunch!

Seriously, out of the whole city, what’s the chance of finding that one parking spot! Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (1) Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (3) Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (4)

 

 

Our daughter, a published author & speaker by age 8 and now a prolific writer working on her 1st novel, felt the wall behind where we sat and breathed, “I’m touching history.”

Couldn’t be more perfect!

 

 

 

Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (10)Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (9)

She ogled the Harry Potter Golden Egg in one of the store windows but opted for the snitch.
Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (23) Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (21)

 

 

 

Before leaving historic Oxford, we stopped for tea & scones and some lovely smoked salmon.Oxford, Oxford University, England, Eagle and Child pub, Harry Potter snitch, Exeter (16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bright spot flowerThe Bright Spot – Being surrounded by spirituality, architectural magnificence & educational brilliance, it was nourishing for our well-being at this most challenging time: Kicking Cancer


Bianca